Monday, October 09, 2006

I don't care if it is a twenty-sixer, you're nicked

Nanny Knows Best mentions (but strangely does not link to) a story about children in Littlehampton being stopped and searched by police because they were throwing sticks at trees to bring down conkers.

Never fear: Littlehampton Today has the story:
Angry mothers have blasted police after they stopped and searched four children – for knocking conkers out of a tree.
The children were issued with stop and search tickets by a police officer at Littlehampton on Saturday and had their haul of conkers confiscated.

But they went back the next day with their parents' permission after they called police to demand an explanation — but no-one got back to them.

The same officer returned and again warned the children to stay away from the tree, in Church Street, claiming there was a conservation order on it and it was on private property.
The report suggests that there is no such order on the tree and it is not on private property. In any case, Littlehampton must have a remarkably low crime rate if the police there are free to devote so much time to such a trivial matter.

A voice of good sense comes from Mark Everson, Arun District Council's tree officer, who said:
"The youngsters of Littlehampton do what boys normally do in the autumn, throw things to get conkers. We all did it. The tree does not seem to have been mortally wounded."
If there was any cause for concern, it was that children were stepping into a busy road to collect the conkers they had brought down. But couldn't the police have dealt with that in a more proportionate way?

Nanny Knows Best story found via the Adam Smith Institute's daily blog review.

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